Skyforge: The Possible Problems Posed by Prestige…
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Skyforge was released (see “Open Beta”) in the middle of July, and there is already plenty of content being release by its players. I have been watching a couple Skyforge streamers on Twitch, and have seen a few videos on YouTube, and I haven’t found anything negative to say about the game from what I have seen. The graphics a good, the art style is great, the combat looks amazing, the animations and spell effects are very well done, and there looks to be some decent options for customization. I think the only major downside is the poor voice acting, and this appears to be a widely shared opinion. However, I am here to talk about a key feature of gameplay that functions passively on a player’s character, but has a significant impact on a player’s experience. This feature is called Prestige.
Disclaimer: I must admit that I have not yet been able to play the game, because Skyforge is not properly installing onto my computer. I brought the issue to the attention of my.com, but I have yet to hear back from them.
As I mentioned before, I can’t see anything wrong with Skyforge. The game has a lot going for it, even if it won’t properly install on my PC. The only thing that fills me with a bit of concern is prestige. Prestige is a core character feature in Skyforge that replaces the traditional character level seen in other MMORPGs. As players raise their prestige, they will gain access to more difficult or prestige appropriate content, which yield better rewards. Unlike traditional levels, players don’t improve their prestige by obtaining one specific resource from killing enemies or completing quests. Instead, prestige is improved by progressing through the Ascension Atlas, expanding the Order, and acquiring more powerful gear. While all of these ideas are harmless on their own, together they remind me of a few of the reasons why I left World of Warcraft.
The concerns I have with prestige stem from my disdain for power creep mechanics in many, many (many) other RPGs and MMORPGs. At its core, prestige is a hardcore power creep mechanic. Skyforge has managed to put a few systems in place to counteract a few of the things I dislike about the power creep, but since I haven’t be able to actually play the game there are a few things that still leave me confused. As an example, if prestige is how players gain access to new content, does that content scale with prestige once accessed or eventually become irrelevant once players surpass a certain prestige threshold? The concern I have is that prestige will suffer from some of the same poor design decisions that shadowed World of Warcraft from expansion to expansion.
World of Warcraft has a history of making content irrelevant on a regular basis, and, by “a regular basis”, I am referring to anytime a new expansion is released. Every new expansion increased the level cap, making all dungeon/raid/questing content at the previous level cap irrelevant, added new dungeons, but left players with fewer viable dungeons/raids/quests than they had at the end of the last expansion, and effectively moved the pinnacle of power even further beyond the reach of players, especially those that don’t raid. On occasion, the WoW developers would add a feature they had no intention of expanding in future expansions. Garrisons was one such feature, and I kind of feel sorry for anyone who wasted their time on them, but, at the same time, I don’t because they were dumb enough to still be playing World of Warcraft.
If I get into Skyforge, I don’t want to reach the “highest point” of prestige to find out that I have fewer options of viable content than I started with, or when I was at the “middle point”. I am hoping that any content I gain access to will continuously scale upward with my character. Additionally, I am hoping that Skyforge continuously increases the amount of viable content, instead of making old content entirely irrelevant when a new batch of content is released. Though, given the fact that players can achieve tens of thousands of prestige, this may seem more like a pipedream than a reality. However, until I can actually get my hands on the game myself, I won’t know for sure how everything works.
Have you played Skyforge? What class(es) are you playing? Do you know the intricacies of prestige and how it relates to content? Feel free to shed some light on my concerns, if you are able. Also…
Join the discussion below.
If you enjoy watching gaming streams, and want more Skyforge content, be sure to check out the following Twitch channels:
— Fisstech: Streams Regularly. Plays Skyforge and other assorted games.
— PumpedUpPixie: Streams Tues & Thur mornings (8am – 11am) regularly, and at other hours when able. Plays Skyforge, and does LootCrate unboxing.
Also, if you have any questions, or have some ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, you can leave a comment below or head over to my shiny semi-new-ish Contact page.
Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.
Posted on September 4, 2015, in Gaming and tagged Blizzard, Game Design, Gaming, MMO, MMORPG, my.com, prestige, RPG, Skyforge, Video Games, War Fist, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.